My Top 1000 Songs #280: Strict Time

[I've been writing up my Top 1000 songs on a daily basis--you can see them all in descending order by hitting the All My Favorite Songs tag.]

The original 6-LP run from Elvis Costello remains simply astounding, so littered with amazing songs. And plenty of them (not just the ones I've previously noted here) are probably a bit more original than "Strict Time," from 1981's Trust, which mines a traditional (if greatly enlivened) Bo Diddley beat. But it's nonetheless a personal favorite, largely as arguably one of the finest showcases for the absolute brilliance of The Attractions. I don't think I could call the Bruce Thomas/Pete Thomas rhythm section underrated--they're well-loved--but damn, they are just absolutely on fire here, Entwistle-like acrobatic basslines and a beat that percolates Diddley almost beyond recognition. Throw in some nice interplay between Costello's guitars and Steve Nieve's piano, that entrancing harmonizing in the chorus, and the reliably intricate (if particularly opaque) lyrics, and the tune rises to the top of a very competitive field of EC triumphs.

Excellent 1981 performance:
And in 2019: